The first F1 Sprint race of 2022 is almost upon us, with the new format returning for a second season and promising to exert more influence on the World Championship standings this year.
Title rivals Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton will be among those hoping to win points when the Sprint takes place for the first time during this campaign at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix in Imola.
What does the Sprint race entail? How is it likely to affect the standings, and what time and where can F1 fans watch it? Here’s what you need to know ahead of the action.
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We’ve seen the F1 Sprint before: the shorter Saturday race first appeared in 2021, when Formula 1 bosses tested it across three races, later approving the format to take place on three occasions again in 2022.
The condensed race takes place over 100km (around 62 miles), equating to 21 laps of the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari circuit in the northern Italian town of Imola.
A qualifying race on Friday evening determines how Formula 1’s drivers line up for the Sprint race on Saturday, when they compete to earn their starting places for the full race on Sunday, as well as those potentially precious extra points.
BREAKING: Sprint returns for the 2022 season 🤩
To be held in Imola, Austria and Brazil! 💫#F1 pic.twitter.com/lk3ojv8gbj
Pit stops are not mandatory, meaning the race lives up to its name by giving drivers the chance to go flat-out for victory from the start. The race takes place after the final second practice session — reduced from the usual three practices to accommodate the Sprint — on Saturday.
One notable change for 2022 is an increase in the number of points allocated for the F1 Sprint. In 2021, three points were awarded to the winner, two to the runner-up and one to the third-placed driver.
Eight drivers will share 36 points in each Sprint in 2022, earning the winner eight points and the runner-up seven points, with each subsequent position earning a point less than the rival behind whom they finish.
That makes the Sprint more likely to prove pivotal in deciding where drivers finish this season. Stars can now earn a maximum of 34 points across each race weekend, and the 24 points available from the Sprint across the season are only two fewer than winning a full race.
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The Emilia Romagna Grand Prix is the first race of the 2022 season to host the Sprint format, truncating the 61-lap full race into the shorter version. Austria and Sao Paulo will also provide the settings for Sprint races during the 2022 season.
F1 bosses initially announced plans to hold six Sprint races this season, although that was subsequently halved to provide three editions again.
In 2021, eventual champion Max Verstappen beat Lewis Hamilton in a thrilling Sprint race at Silverstone. Valtteri Bottas, who would finish third behind the pair in the final standings, won in Monza and Interlagos.
🚫 No compulsory pit stops
🚦 DRS in action
🏃 100km of pure sprint action
🏆 Points to top three: 3-2-1
We can’t wait! 🤩#F1 pic.twitter.com/bcuvG07kJN
Hamilton won the full British Grand Prix race, where Verstappen did not finish after a hugely controversial collision with the home hero. Bottas finished third behind winner Daniel Ricciardo and runner-up Lando Norris at Monza, and Hamilton secured the Brazilian Grand Prix ahead of Verstappen and his Mercedes teammate.
Read the full list of broadcasters and start times for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix 2022 Sprint and full F1 races.